There are many reasons to study a foreign language. Analytical/memorization skills, communication, and creativity increases with language acquisition, you have broader career choices, and you gain a deeper understanding of your own language and culture.
But why study Latin? Much of the English language has Latin roots, so studying Latin can give you a deeper understanding of English grammar and structure. Also, much of modern science, math, law, and theology study has its root in the Latin language. By learning Latin first, you can more easily learn other Romance languages. If you are looking for the best online Latin course to jump start your Latin learning, here is a list of the six best online Latin courses for beginners.
1. Learn Latin by Learn101
This is a self-guided website designed to allow you the freedom to learn at your own pace, making it a great starting place for the beginning Latin student. It is completely free and is laid out so you can learn the basics of Latin step by step. The course offers audio with each lesson as well as basic grammar and vocabulary lessons. In this course you will memorize vocabulary lists and learn basic phrases in Latin.
Exam: Yes, there is an exam when you reach the end of the course.
2. Getting started on classical Latin by Open University
This online beginner Latin course is designed especially for students with no former background in Latin or other foreign language study, making it a candidate for the best online Latin course for beginners. This course is very introductory and covers the basics of Latin pronunciation, links between English and Latin, and basic language structure so that you can unravel Latin sentences. It is downloadable from their website and is filled with 10 hours of study materials.
Certificate: No, but there is a free statement of participation upon completion.
Exam: No quizzes or tests.
3. Linney’s Latin Class
This particular course is known as the best online Latin course because it is completely free and is aimed at homeschooling and self-taught students. The course textbook, The First Year of Latin, covers the basics of Latin grammar. And, the online portion of the class features a series of MP3 recorded lectures to go along with the textbook. You can purchase and download the textbook in PDF format if you do not wish to have a hard copy. The textbook itself is over 100 years old, so it has stood the test of time and has been proven to work.
Cost: The course textbook costs roughly $15 and can be ordered from Amazon or any online book store.
4. Utah State University Beginning Latin: Grammar
This online Latin course teaches the two basic types of Latin: Vulgar Latin which was the language of the people and Classical Latin which was spoken in prose and poetry. This course also focuses on some of the history of the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church. This course is available online in mostly text format and is completely free which is why it is included as the best online Latin course. So, it’s a great place to get started right away. You can also print out the handouts available online.
Exam: No, there are no quizzes or exams, but there are assignments to be completed.
5. An Introduction to Classical Latin by Udemy
This introductory online Latin course covers the basics of grammar and syntax. You will also study a comprehensive list of vocabulary which is essential for every beginning language student. It’s easy-to-follow structure makes it the best online Latin course for the beginner student.
Each lesson includes a short 3-7 minute video and lesson text which can be easily printed if you have a printer. Translation exercises, vocabulary lists, and lifetime access are several more features of this online course. If you are not satisfied, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Certificate: Yes, you receive a certificate of completion.
Exam: Yes, there are self-test exams every few chapters.
Cost: This course is usually $30 but is sometimes on sale.
6. The Cambridge Latin Course
The Cambridge School Classics Project (CSCP) is a non-profit run by the University of Cambridge and offers one of the world’s leading beginner Latin courses, making it the best online Latin course. Their approach is to not only offer knowledge of the grammar and structure of the language for reading, but also teach you about classical civilization and culture.
The course is a series of four textbooks, so the majority of this course is reading. However, they do offer online resources such as weblinks to cultural topics, vocabulary, and dictionaries. One great feature of this Latin course is that once you finish Latin 1, you can continue to study intermediate and advanced Latin through their additional course textbooks.
Exam: Yes, you can frequently test your vocabulary knowledge throughout the course.
Cost: The course textbooks range in price from $60 to $93 depending on the Unit.
The subscription to their online resource is roughly $13 for 12 months.
There are many reasons to study a foreign language, particularly Latin. Studying Latin can give you a deeper understanding of the English language and be an excellent starting point to study other Romance languages. If you are looking for the best online Latin course, give one of the courses listed here a try.
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